The year is 2019, and on the surface, things seem to be looking up for women.
We are seeing more women in leadership, more conversations on gender equality and of course, the #MeToo movement has made headlines and placed a spotlight on not just the business community but on our humanity as a whole: raising questions about how we interact with another and what we condone.
I would argue that it places a big question before us: if the world remains as it is today, is this the sort of world we want for our sons and daughters, or are we capable of doing better?
The good news is that today, globally, women are graduating at a much higher rate than ever before. In Malaysia, the muslim majority country where I’m from, female university enrollment is around 64%.
Across many countries, and in the European Union, women make up about half the labour force.
And women in some pockets, are making strides on the political front. A historic high of 25 women are now serving in the US senate.
And while I’m an optimist, we all know that this only tells one side of the story.
– While women make up almost half the labour force worldwide today, they hold just 34% of managerial positions, and in the four worst performing countries studied by the WEF – less than 7% of managerial positions. Those countries are Egypt, Saudi, Yemen and Pakistan.
– Despite talk of women in the boardroom – women only held 17% of board director seats worldwide in 2017
– And even more embarrassingly, while some of the markets have implemented gender quotas on boards and have achieved the highest rates of female board participation in countries such as France, Sweden, and Germany, they have embarrassingly low rates of female top executives.
Tune in to my keynote below at the World Affairs Council of America, on the SheEconomy: